The Ministry of Health and Social Services in Namibia has reported a suspected anthrax outbreak in Opuwo District, Kunene Region, located in the far north-west part of the country.
The outbreak was originally recognized in late October when four patients presented at the district hospital with wounds (skin lesions) and swelling on various parts of their bodies.
It was established that these case-patients had either handled carcasses of dead goats or consumed the meat.
As of 21 November 2018, a total of 52 suspected cases of anthrax were reported, manifesting either as the cutaneous or the gastrointestinal form of the disease.
About 138 community members reportedly consumed meat from dead goats and/or handled the carcasses, and were administered antibiotic prophylaxis. The veterinary division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry earlier reported that a total of 98 goats, donkeys and cattle died of an unknown cause in the Sesfontein settlement since August 2018.
On 1 November 2018, Bacillus anthracis bacterium was isolated from a specimen collected from a dead goat in Sesfontein settlement.
Officials say the likelihood of more human cases is high, given the outbreak in goats (their animal of choice) and the common risk practices such as slaughtering sick animals and/or skinning and consuming meat from animals that have died of unknown causes.
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